I was greatly inspired by Kevin’s story of his coming out to both himself and his family, and the years that transpired as he went through the process of discovering who he was as he eventually found himself in a place that he can truly be happy in. His story inspired me to write my version of the experience. Although vastly different from his- and completely void of religion- it is still the most triumphant moment of my life to date.
Similar to Kevin, I come from an area of the country (Canada in my case) that is more right-winged: Regina, Saskatchewan. I grew up in the north end, where all the boys played hockey: I chose to be a gymnast (my parents actuallygave me the choice between the two). I truly believe that my path to being the gay man I am today started when I was five years old and I felt an affinity for the more graceful side of things versus the macho-istic. But, that’s just forecasting twenty years later.
I too grew up in a house surrounded by a family that loved me and allowed me to grow into the person I wanted to be. They supported me and guided me when I had difficulty with bullies and fitting in with the boys in my classes.
I ran through every emotion in the book throughout my high school years (especially after moving to an even smaller town outside of Kelowna, British Columbia), and I knew things were only going to get tougher before they got easier. I dated girls, all the while being sexually active with boys. I struggled to understand what this meant, but suppressed my feelings by continuing to date girls in an attempt to “become normal” by doing “straight things”. Thankfully, all of the girls I dated through my experimental period respected me enough to understand what I was going through, and still love me to this day.
As for my family, I struggled the most with telling them. My father was loving, but I always had the perception of him being a man among men. Being the high school football captain, and in the army when he was in his prime, his level of manliness was unreachable for me. I felt that my lifestyle would shatter him and ultimately ruin our family dynamic. So, I told my sister first knowing she would understand, and to use as a crutch for support and to determine how my parents would react.
Naturally, my instincts were WAY off, and my parents handled it better than I ever could have imagined. They simply hugged me; told me they still loved me; and, nothing that I could ever do would change that. It’s taken the last few years for me to fully appreciate my parents and everything that they have done for me. Anyone that has ever met them can attest to the nature of their character and what truly amazing people they are; I thought they deserved a little shout out: I love you mom and dad!
All-in-all, coming out was one of the most difficult times of my life, as I slowly realized who I was and spoke about it openly to everyone in my life. I was fortunately blessed with an amazing support system of friends and family who all understood, and accepted me for who I was. I really only had one bad reaction, and I hope she’s reading this to see how I’ve bitch-slapped her on the net! Forgive me!
The final hurdle in my life still awaits: to tell my extended family, which, for some reason, is stressing me out more than any other group of people I’ve had to tell. This is largely due to the closeness of everyone in my family unit, and my feeling of regret for not telling them sooner. If they happen to come across this website, then I apologize in now for the lack of advanced warning! I just hope they understand that I am worried of losing their love and respect, which I know is exactly what every young gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered youth struggles with before they finally admit to themselves and to others, that they are who they are.
I’m proud of myself, Kevin, and everyone else who has a different, yet oddly similar version of this story. And, I’m proud that I’ve made something of myself.